Vogue Watches

All Books Great and Small

When it comes to watches, they come in all sizes. Bigger is not necessarily better. There are dainty dials, shining with miniature detail above equally minute movements, marvels of micromechanics. There are huge slabs that look like they need their own checked luggage tags. And there are medium-sized watches that try to be all things to all people–as ubiquitous as a Toyota Camry. high quality replica watches

The same goes for books. Today I’ll share with you some of the biggest and smallest specimens in the HSNY library. Some are so large they could be used as solar shades (if we weren’t concerned about UV damage to the books) while others could be smuggled in your cheek.

The big books in the library were easy for me to find because, well, they announce their presence. They’re the Panerais in the room, beefy, all-around chonks. If you’re a librarian who works with them, you can go ahead and skip arm day. In image 1, you can see a selection of our biggest books, with two 750 mL bottles for scale. Their publication dates range from 1765 to 2023. high quality replica watches
One prominent, incredibly unwieldy book in our collection is J. P. Morgan’s catalog of watches (the red book in image 1). This might sound familiar, because the name J. P. Morgan is even more omnipresent in American life than a Toyota Camry. Morgan, a financier, was a collector of many things, not just clocks and watches–a visit to the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City will give you a sense of the scale of his collection of rare books, fine art, gems, and other objects. Morgan donated his watches to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1913, where they remain to this day. We have a copy of Morgan’s illustrated collection catalog.

Morgan produced a very limited number of hand-colored editions of this catalog printed on vellum and finished with bits of real gold. One of these copies sold in 2012 for $26,000, and you can see a few pictures of the sumptuous illustrations here. In our library, we have a more modest facsimile in black and white, but even the facsimile is quite a rare book. Pound for pound, it’s also one of the heaviest in our collection at 13 pounds, 12 ounces, roughly the weight of a plump cat. It measures 15 inches tall by 12 inches wide and is over four inches thick (in image 2, a can of sparkling water for scale.) high quality replica watches
Image 3, a plate from Morgan’s collection catalog, shows a silver watch in the shape of a skull, a popular motif when this watch was produced, around 1600. Watches of this type are intended as a kind of memento mori, meaning that every time you look at this watch, you should think about how you’re one second closer to your inevitable death. Its jaw unhinges to reveal the movement in its mouth. Snap, your time’s up!

In image 4, a relatively tamer watch from 1660, made by Henry Grendon, displaying an intricate engraved dial covered by an octagonal-cut rock crystal. The outer case, shown below the watch, is made of shagreen, which is processed shark or rayfish skin. Even though the color isn’t visible in this version, you can see the pebbly, bubbly texture of the shagreen, further ornamented by silver stars. The catalog’s enormous plates, replicating the details of a watch in real size, are what make the book so desirable and expensive, then as now.

One of the oldest big books in our library is Diderot’s “Encyclopédie,” coming in at 16 inches tall by 10 ½ inches wide (image 5, no trick photography used). Denis Diderot edited this famous work in the second half of the 18th century, during the Age of Enlightenment, when a group of authors hoped to present a secular, all-encompassing version of scientific and cultural knowledge. The encyclopedia consisted of 28 volumes, with a full 11 of them made up of plates (engraved, printed illustrations). We have only one part of one volume, which includes the plates from the section on Horlogerie. Because that’s the only one we care about, n’est-ce pas?